Characteristics of Science (2 of 2)

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Science is non-dogmatic.
Nothing in the scientific enterprise or literature requires belief. To ask someone to accept ideas purely on faith, even when these ideas are expressed by “experts,” is unscientific. While science must make some assumptions, such as the idea that we can trust our senses, explanations and conclusions are accepted only to the degree that they are well founded and continue to stand up to scrutiny.


 
flowers

Science cannot make moral or aesthetic decisions.
Scientists can infer the relationships of flowering plants from their anatomy, DNA, and fossils, but they cannot scientifically assert that a rose is prettier than a daisy. Being human, scientists make moral and aesthetic judgments and choices, as do all citizens of our planet, but such decisions are not part of science.

 
  Rosa californica, courtesy of Gladys Lucille Smith © 1999 California Academy of Sciences; Monoptilon billidforme, © 1998 Christopher L. Christie. Next Topic:
Science Exists in a Cultural Context


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Spanish translation of Understanding Evolution For Teachers from the Spanish Society of Evolutionary Biology.